Varun Pahwa, President, Desiccant Rotors International | Times of India | January 19, 2022,
Varun Pahwa is President DRI. DRI is a global provider of components & systems for Energy Recovery, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Evaporative Cooling, Dehumidification & Green Buildings.
With the coming of the winters the issue of poor air quality has again become a huge concern for people across India. Also, with Covid-19 hitting the world, people are spending more and more time indoors to protect themselves from the deadly virus. The fog coupled with smoke forms smog envelopes the city with bad air quality. Due to the chilly winter air, people resort to spend maximum time indoors to protect themselves from cold weather as well as the poor air quality outside.
But staying indoors is not that easy, the way it looks. Due to the poor ventilation, or presence of molds have increased the chances of developing ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ that gives rise to serious health issues and overall wellbeing. It is also responsible for wide range of issues like breathing problems, lethargy, pain in the eyes, and other long-term illnesses.
People need to be aware that the indoor air gets easily influenced by the outdoor air and is 10 times worse and harmful because of restricted air flow in the enclosed area. It is not just the metropolitan cities which get affected but even the surrounding cities face the menace of poor indoor air quality.
Industries like healthcare, construction, factories, hotels, airports, are more likely to experience poor air quality due to their packed, and complex structure which does not support the influx of fresh air. Moreover, being commercial spaces, often these places are huddled with large crowds which further deteriorates the IAQ.
As we spend more and more time indoors, mostly in centrally conditioned spaces such as office complexes, homes, malls, hotels, restaurants, auditoriums and various other closed premises, building management systems are dealing with not only contaminants/pollutants generated indoors but also have to ensure outdoor pollution like PM 2.5, PM10, VOCs as well other gaseous contaminants are not brought inside conditioned spaces through conditioning systems.
Given that the major cause of poor IAQ is the lack of clean fresh air in the buildings which only gets worse with the presence of moisture, ensuring proper ventilation is the best solution to improve the indoor air pollution. It dilutes the contaminated air indoors by utilizing the fresh air from outside. With the help of this approach, we thoroughly clean the outside fresh air and introduce that into a building, maintaining positive pressure in the building.
To ensure proper ventilation, HVAC&R systems must be installed which offers wide range of advantages. It not just renders acceptable indoor air quality but also provides thermal comfort in the enclosed space. The system employees advanced desiccant technology that uses hygroscopic substances to suck moisture from the air in order to maintain the proper RH and cools down the indoor spaces.
One of the primary benefits of this technology is that it tones down the air according to the requirement of the given space. The Energy Recovery systems ventilate the conditioned spaces without compromising on air conditioning load. Owing to this mechanism there is substantial reduction in the use of energy and utility costs.
In addition to the installation of the HVAC&R system, people must be agile enough to adopt green building designs. Green Building Councils across the globe are playing a critical role in promoting awareness and certifying the importance of Indoor Air Quality in our day to day lives. The advanced buildings help in striking the right balance in the indoor air quality that does not compromise on the comfort of the people but at the same time coherently contribute to reduce the energy consumption of the building with the help of green products. These buildings are most viable solution as it highly maintains proper relative humidity (RH) and prevents any growth of mold, mildew in the enclosed atmosphere.
With advanced systems in place and efficient air purifying systems, maintaining good indoor air quality, even in large spaces has become a cost effective and doable affair.